Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revert to the 90:10 share pattern between the Centre and states for agricultural development programmes and also batted for crop diversification.
Amarinder Singh stressed the need to re-adopt this share pattern to improve farm income, make agriculture more sustainable and promote crop diversification.
“The target to double farmers’ income in five years appears almost unachievable unless urgent steps are taken to re-direct the focus and provide essential institutional support”, a Chief Minister’s Office Spokesman on Wednesday quoted him as saying in the letter.
Underlining Punjab’s steller role in the ‘Green Revolution’, the Chief Minister said that while earlier there was huge increase in production of food grains and arable area under wheat and paddy cultivation, the yield potential of these crops with currently available technology had been fully exploited.
“On the one hand, growth in productivity and real farm incomes have gone down, on the other, the very sustainability of the rice-wheat cropping system is under threat due to overexploitation of natural resources like soil and water. In the given circumstances, there is an urgent need for diversification,” Amarinder Singh said.
However, he pointed out, the share pattern of major agricultural development programmes had been regularly and repeatedly amended.
“States are now asked to contribute 40 per cent of the outlay as their share, even though they lack financial resources and capacity to alleviate farmers’ distress on their own, with Punjab being no exception,” he said.
Punjab has been requesting for 90:10 share pattern to facilitate efficient implementation of various agricultural development programmes and encourage investments in agriculture sector, the Chief Minister said.
He said instead of providing tightly compartmentalised interventions under various programmes, the states should get more flexibility in designing interventions in view of area-specific requirements.
“These measures, it is felt, will contribute to improve the economic viability and ecological sustainability of farming and, thereby, help in checking the prevailing distress in the farm sector.”
Punjab contributes nearly 50 per cent food grains (wheat and paddy) to the central pool with just 1.54 per cent of the country’s geographical area